Last Updated on May 2, 2017 by Michael Brockbank
One of my favorite sayings is, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” Although I don’t have a long-barreled .44 Magnum Smith and Wesson to go with the quote, it still rings true. In reality, knowing how far you can push yourself improves a wide range of things in life. Whether it’s career or fitness, knowing this point is beneficial.
Limitations for Health and Fitness
One of the most important points I try to make for anyone is that we all have a different physiology. Although all humans share specific traits, everyone is different on some level. One person can have allergies to gluten while others have to avoid peanuts. My point is that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.
Identifying just where your limitations lie, whether it’s physical or mental, makes life so much easier in the long-run.
Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
This is perhaps one of the biggest problems a lot of people have. Many believe that pushing themselves to the breaking point increases fitness. In reality, it puts you at a great deal of risk. For example, extreme aerobics to someone who is obese and new to exercise increases the risk of a heart attack. Even endurance athletes are capable of pushing themselves too hard.
Pushing beyond what you can handle often leads to accidents, injuries and other mishaps that have varied impacts on your life. It can lead to becoming over-stressed, which will impact your mental state. This is true whether you’re trying to bench press a certain weight or taking on too much of a workload in your career.
Take my experience, for example. Without training or preparing myself to simply walk a 5k, I created stress fractures on both of my feet when I weighed 280 pounds. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was extremely weak. However, now I can go beyond the 5k after spending time building myself up to handle the distance.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to do more. But you need to do so in a logical manner. Work yourself up to it, don’t just jump in and cross your fingers. For instance, I know my personal record for push-ups is currently 20. I am not going to push for 40, because that’s just not going to happen. But it will, eventually.
Find the Right Diet Plan
Diet plans are another problem for many. A lot of people assume they can simply start a specific plan they see on TV and experience stellar results. Remember, everyone’s physiology is different. While some had a bit of success during the Atkins craze, I personally know someone who developed gout while on the diet plan.
Finding the best diet plan that will work for you relies more on trial and error. It’s experimenting with different ways to eat that benefits you, not the person convincing you to try it. A lot of people have success on the Paleo diet, some would rather go low-carb and I count calories. Technically, they all work…for specific people.
A truly successful diet plan is one that you feel confident about following and makes you feel better. If you’re diet is making you miserable, then it’s not the right one for you. A lot of times, this “bad” feeling is actually your body telling you that you’re deficient in something it needs.
I know that I need to have some sugary goodness nearby. I lose weight because I am usually pretty good at portioning out my food. This allows me to eat virtually anything I want while still losing weight and feeling generally good. And yes, I do mix in fruits and veggies as well.
Have Realistic Goals
Contrary to what some believe, goals can be healthy. It’s being realistic that a lot of people have a problem with. Take me, for example. My goal is to look like Captain America for Halloween. Realistically, I doubt I will look like Chris Evans by then. After all, I know my limitations when it comes to workout dedication.
The average person can lose about three pounds per week while still being healthy. Sure there are faster ways to lose weight, but most of them come at great risk. Take the average weight loss into consideration when planning your goal. If you want to lose 50 pounds, it could take you as much as six months to reach it.
Personally, I find breaking up larger goals into smaller and easier to achieve ones is better. Not only does it take the focus off of something that seems too large, but it also makes you feel accomplished while boosting confidence.
Lastly, it’s all about patience. This is one thing in life that is in short supply, it seems. It’s difficult to be patient in today’s instant-gratification-driven world. But having patience improves how you look at progress and feeling comfortable in your decisions.
Optimal health and fitness isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes a bit of work and constant modification to find a strategy that works for you. Realizing your limitations and basing your goals off of what you personally can handle will make the process so much easier.
For instance, what if you’re not losing weight but you’ve increased your exercise? Keep these points in mind:
- Muscle weighs more than fat. When you exercise, you’re turning fat into muscle density.
- Cardio activity over your regular sloth-like routine is beneficial to keep you alive, especially if you’re obese.
- Just because you don’t lose weight doesn’t mean you’re not slimming down. Take measurements in inches around key areas of your body.
- Everyone’s physiology is different. You may develop slower or faster than those around you.
- Focus on breaking personal records. It’ll boost your self-esteem and confidence when you think you’re not progressing.
Like the saying goes, “Patience is a virtue.” As long as you can keep control of your diet plan and exercises, everything else can easily fall into place. You need to refrain from getting sucked into the void of despair when you don’t have an immediate result.
Understanding Limitations Makes Life Easier
Knowing just how far you can go can greatly affect nearly every aspect in your life. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to reach a bit further and exceed your own expectations. Limitations are constantly changing, especially if you stick with health and fitness routines. Take control of your life, but don’t try to accomplish something you know in your heart that you cannot do. The last thing you want is to set yourself up for failure.